Malaga and the wider Andalusia region has become an attractive destination for tourists from Western Europe. Attracted by the sandy beaches and consistent weather patterns, many visitors rarely move inland. This in itself is a shame as there is much more to Andalusia than just the beaches. Travel in land even just a few kilometres and there are many attractive towns and villages that provide an insight what Andalusia is really like. One such town is Alhaurin el Grande.
Alhaurin el Grande is only 30km from Malaga, and there is also easy access to Marbella, and as a result has become a popular place for a select number of tourists to base their holidays around. The town itself has also been quicker to try and attract tourists than other similar towns in the area, and as a result it is a thriving town.
Situated in the Guadalhorce River valley, Alhaurin el Grande is one of the most picturesque of towns in the area, and is also one of the oldest. There is evidence of a Neolithic existence in the area, although it is the Roman period that first establishes the town. The history of the town is reminiscent of the whole history of the Andalusia region.
There is plenty evidence of the Roman settlement of Lauro Nova, the original name of Alhaurin el Grande, and remnants of the numerous villas of the area are still visible today. Three Roman columns have also been moved to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento within the town.
The period of the Moors though had a direct influence in the prosperity of Alhaurin el Grande and also the look of the modern town. The Moors were the people who named the town and also built a hilltop fortress, Torres de Fahala, although the fortress has since been destroyed when Christians took over the town. Alhaurin el Grande also suffered during the Napoleonic wars when it was occupied by the French.
Within the town there are plenty of reminders of the Moorish period including a twelfth century archway, the Arcos de Cobertizo. The whole history of Alhaurin el Grande is embraced by the town, and ruins and remnants of the past are pointed out with pride.
Visitors to Alhaurin el Grande will often delight in the architectural mixture of the town. There is the parish church to take a look around, this is a sixteenth century church built on the site of the old town fort, and is known as the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation. Additionally there are also a couple of other chapels of interest within the town, the Chapel of Vera Cruz, and the Chapel of San Sebastian.
Alhaurin el Grande is surrounded by olive fields, and pine forests, which make it a very enticing place to take a wander around. For those whole like some activity with their wanderings there is also two good quality golf courses in the town.
For those who prefer to do just nothing then Alhaurin el Grande is a great place to just sit at one of the numerous cafes or restaurants, to partake in the local cuisine and to observe the working of the town just pass by.
Of course no visit to Andalusia is going to be complete without a little time spent at the beach, and even that is close by, and a few minutes drive will bring visitors to the Mediterranean coastline. Additionally for any amenities that Alhaurin el Grande is missing can be found in the nearby towns of Alhaurin de la Torre and Coin.
Alhaurin el Grande is one of the best example of the real Andalusia lifestyle, rather than the tourist centric lifestyle of Malaga and Marbella. It may not be as lively as the coastal towns, but provides a more relaxing time.